Govt to regulate hazardous waste within six months

Kathmandu, May 5

The government is preparing to regulate the management of electrical, household, biomedical and hazardous wastes under its ‘Nepal Clean Environment Mega Campaign, 2018'.

A Forest and Environment Sector Reform Action Plan, 2018 released by the Ministry of Forest and Environment yesterday says the government will make effective the regulation of all kinds of waste, including plastic bags, within six months.

The quantity of electronic waste is steadily increasing and has emerged as one of the most significant forms of waste.

“The growth of e-waste has significant social, environment and economic impacts. The increase in consumption of electrical and electronic products and higher obsolescence rate has led to increased generation of e-waste,” reads the 2017 report published by the Department of Environment.

Based on imports and use of electric and electronic equipment, the e-waste inventory due to increasing obsolescence rate in Kathmandu for the year 2017 has been estimated to be 17730.44 tonnes. Scrap dealers are found to be the last component in the value chain, it says. As per the report, all the unused items ultimately reach the dealers in scrap value where a limited facility of segregation and recycling is available. Therefore, the collected waste is transported to India for extraction of useful/precious elements and recycling.

E-waste includes discarded computers, monitors, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, fax machines, electric lamps, home appliances, cellphones, audio equipment, game consoles and batteries, among various other ICT products. These ICT products if improperly disposed, can leach toxic substances into the soil and groundwater.

According to the ministry, even countries with low manufacturing base generate hazardous waste from the import of products that ultimately turns into such waste. Oils from transportation, redundant pesticides from agriculture, chemical wastes from industrial and commercial units, acids and lead from batteries; acids, alkalis and organic solutions from industrial cleaning; and healthcare wastes are some of the examples of hazardous waste.

Hazardous waste causes immediate, short-term public health and long-term environmental pollution. They can affect the whole life and food cycles and hence pose danger to human health and ecological system. Therefore, it is necessary to have proper disposal and storage methods to eliminate contamination, says the Environment and Forest Ministry.